When Cyd’s asleep and Neil and I get some time to ourselves, we often watch something familiar and guaranteed to make us laugh: Modern Family. 

If you haven’t watched the sitcom and have only seen clips of it on reels or TikTok, you’re missing out on a TV show beloved for its witty humor, relatable characters, and candid yet creative attempt at tackling real-life family issues. 

In fact, one episode particularly resonated with us, as it highlighted the Dunphy family’s excessive reliance on technology, a theme that echoed a classic children’s book:The Berenstain Bears and Too Much TV

Cyd and I first discovered this book through a podcast by Lisa Bueno entitled Story Time with Philip & Mommy. For an entire month, we listened exclusively to all the Berenstain Bears stories on Spotify. I was captivated by the narrator’s versatile voice and range of character voices, which inspired me to imitate her while reading the book aloud. When I stumbled upon a copy at a bookstore, I was overjoyed and quickly added it to our collection.

The Berenstain Bears and Too Much TV explores excessive screen time, a theme mirrored in a Modern Family episode where the Dunphys become overly reliant on their devices. In the episode, Claire initiates a “no gadgets” challenge with a comedic twist: a reward for the family member who can resist their devices longest. This humorous element underscores the serious issue of screen time addiction in modern families, a concern also explored in Berenstain Bears’ book.

As a parent, the Modern Family episode on excessive screen time hit home. My weekly screen time reports often dismay me, and a recent gift of a book on digital minimalism reminded me of the Berenstain Bears’ week without TV.

Yet, managing screen time today is far more complex. Unlike the Berenstain Bears’ era, we now juggle smartphones, tablets, laptops, and gaming consoles, all vying for our attention.

Just like in the show and the book, it’s often the moms who take charge, setting rules around screen time. This reflects a common dynamic, where mothers take the responsibility of managing their children’s media consumption. But the episode also reveals the challenges parents face in enforcing these rules. Each Dunphy family member, at some point, gives in to temptation, mirroring our own struggles with the ever-present lure of our devices.

Screen time worries many parents. The constant exposure raises questions about children’s development, attention spans, and social skills. Modern Family offers a humorous take, but also serves as a reminder: boundaries are crucial. We must foster healthy digital habits. By acknowledging our own struggles and modeling responsible tech use, we can create a more balanced family life, both online and off.

P.S. By the way, if you’re wondering where to watch Modern Family, you can find it on Disney Plus.

By Issa

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